Author's Note: Hello again, fellow Suits fans! =) A few things to clear up before we get on with the story:
1). This is in no way connected to 'No Rest For the Wicked' or 'The Long Road.' Donna and Harvey are NOT together, but details such as their family history will remain the same.
2). The title is just a stand in. If any of you fine readers can think of a title, please feel free to share. =)
Now, I hope you enjoy the story!
"I can assure you, Mr. Lombardi, the details will be smoothed over when we get back to the office," Harvey Specter said to their newest client, gracing him with his most charming smile.
Mike took a small sip of water, following Harvey out of the corner of his eye, observing his demeanor and carefully stored every word by his mentor to glean everything he could from it later. It was the first time he had been allowed to attend a wine-n-dine since he started working at Pearson Hardman. Eight months of careful work had finally allowed him to graduate to the adolescents table as Harvey termed it, for he was meant to be seen and not heard. This made Mike roll his eyes in exasperation. That had only earned him a look that could be precisely translated to, 'See what I mean? Adolescent.'
To be quite honest, he thought Harvey had hyped the experience to proportions far greater than what it was actually worth. This particular client had already been halfway lured in from recommendations and, naturally, Harvey's reputation of being able to win at everything. Really, it was just a matter of dragging the catch into the boat and Mike couldn't even enjoy the whole ritual; Harvey forbade him from having any alcohol!
"Oh, come on, Harvey, you act like I have the alcohol tolerance of a teenager girl," Mike had said to him on the way over.
"Well, maybe if you didn't act like one," Harvey replied with a flat look. It took some effort to keep from smiling at the absolutely miffed look Mike gave him. "Again, no! After lunch, you're going to start the research and I really don't need the alcohol fogging your brain."
"One glass is not going to obliterate my memory," Mike snapped at him.
"This is not a negotiation, Mike," Harvey finally replied, ending the argument with a glare and a frown for good measure.
So it was with some dissatisfaction that Mike could now make the case that chicken alfredo was horrendous with water and wine was a requirement. It was nice to get a free meal by simply sitting at the table and smiling in a supportive way, but otherwise the client paid very little attention to him. He had experienced this before whenever Harvey catered to the ultra wealthy.
Mr. Lombardi gave Harvey a big smile, nodding eagerly even as he reached for yet another breadstick. Mike struggled to keep from grimacing at the man who had a passing resemblance to Harvey, with his fine suits, slicked back hair, and brown eyes. In contrast, though, his skin was much darker and he was much heavier by indication of the belly that caused his clothes to protrude outward and his face appeared to be littered with pock marks, like the skin had never managed to recover from horrible teenage acne. Just the barest sliver of a gold tooth gleamed out at them from that wide smile.
"Good to hear, Mr. Specter. All I've ever heard about you is that you're the best. This should be easier said than done," he crowed with a twisted grin, as he rubbed his hands together as though he were plotting to steal kittens.
"Now, Mr. Lombardi, I am the best closer in the city but victory isn't always assured. As long as the information in your financial records is accurate, though, we should be able to draw up a deal that meets your every demand."
The change on their client was so instantaneous that Mike briefly wondered if his wine had been tainted with the potion Dr. Jekyll drank The man's face turned an alarming dark red and his smile transformed into an ugly sneer. "What are you saying?"
"I am saying that our primary strategy is based primarily on the thorough research we do," Harvey replied smoothly. "We never go into any case unprepared."
The jovial attitude returned just as quickly as it left and the man laughed loudly and grinned widely at them. "Good to see I hired lawyers actually willing to do their job. Excuse me for a moment."
As soon as the man left their sight, the smile dropped from Harvey's face and he glanced over at Mike. "This man is dirty."
"Really? He seems bipolar," Mike replied, but he had the same inkling Harvey had.
"I want you to be extra thorough researching his financial records. He's bound to have a few bad deals hidden in the details."
"Mhmm." Mike nodded, his eyes flicked over to where the man disappeared, and he said, "Here he comes."
"I want you to be thorough researching this company, Mike. We don't want Mr. Lombardi to purchase anything with any unnecessary baggage."
"I'll spot any anomalies, Harvey," Mike replied, unable to keep from quirking his mouth in amusement, as their client took his seat again. The man appeared to be in pure glee.
"Why don't we head back to the firm to sort out the details of our arrangement and I'll send my associate to do the research," Harvey suggested.
"Certainly. After you," the man gestured for them to walk ahead. Mike had to move quickly to fall in step with Harvey as he moved purposefully and gracefully through the maze of tables. Mike only saw him pause ever so slightly to glance at the driver of Mr. Lombardi's limo, causing the smile on the driver's face to wilt ever so slightly, but he continued to hold the door open for them.
Mike made sure to give him a nice smile, internally shaking his head at Harvey's complete distrust of all drivers that weren't Ray. The back compartment of the limo was big enough for two rows of seats and so Mike plopped down on the seat against the driver's compartment, while Harvey and Mr. Lombardi took up the other side.
Much like at the restaurant, Mike found himself yet again cut from the conversation and he had to lean forward to feel like an actual participant. Since many of the details of business had been discussed at the restaurant and would be talked over again at the office, the conversation took a turn toward sports. It didn't take long for Mike's attention to wane, due to the fact that he didn't even own a TV and he had never cared much for sports anyway. Even despite that, he made an effort to keep up with the conversation, if only to avoid the 'I don't care how irrelevant the subject is, you better pay attention to a conversation with a client' speech, but he couldn't resist looking out the window. He watched a few buildings pass when he was struck by something odd.
"It really is interesting that – "
"Hey, wait, aren't we going back to the firm?"
He winced ever so slightly at the glare Harvey gave him for interrupting, but then he looked out the window and the frown turned puzzled. They appeared to have left the business section of the city and were traveling past rows of houses and apartment buildings. "The driver could be avoiding traffic," Harvey supplied, but Mike could see he appeared troubled.
"Hmm…" Mr. Lombardi tapped on the glass partition and asked, "We are going to Pearson Hardman, yes?"
"Yes, sir. This is just a detour."
Mr. Lombardi sat back and gave them a satisfied smile. Harvey returned it, but Mike could easily see behind the lawyer's eyes that he wasn't buying it. Mike, though, pegged that on, yet again, Harvey's inherent distrust of all other drivers but his own. At least, that's what Mike used to convince himself, but a strange and alarming dread was starting to travel up his spine.
When ten minutes passed and they traveled even further on the outskirts of New York, the confusion and – dare he say it? – fear began to grow in the car. All subsequent banging on the driver's partition was met with silence.
"Should we call the police?" Mike said, struggling to keep his voice controlled.
"It could be nothing," Harvey replied, looking ever the picture of calm and collected.
Mike shot him a look: How many movies have you seen?
Harvey gave it right back: This isn't a movie!
No matter how fearful Mike was feeling, it was nothing compared to their client. Sweat was pouring down his face and he reached over to pound frantically on the glass and yell, "Where are we going? Please answer me! Are you two sure we're not going to your firm?"
"Yes," they both answered.
"Please, Mr. Lombardi, you're going to need to calm down. All you're doing is wasting energy. It could be nothing." The client sat down, but his eyes continued to dart around the space as thought there was a hidden exit to be found.
Mike gave his boss another exasperated look and suggested again, "Maybe we should call the police."
"What are we going to tell them? 'Please come help us! We don't know where we're going!'" Harvey couldn't keep from rolling his eyes despite being in front of their client.
Mike hated to admit it, but Harvey did have a point. However, he persisted, "Maybe if you give them your name…!"
"I didn't cozy up to the dispatchers when I worked there. And I have a feeling that telling them to come because it's me would put me lower on the list of priorities."
It was at this moment they slowed to a stop. Both lawyers peered out the windows and found they had been driven to a deserted shipping yard surrounded by several shipping containers. They glanced at each other; Mike fearful, Harvey grim. Just then a man opened the door to reveal a machine gun's muzzle, twinkling in the sunlight. "Out of the car."